In January 1983, 40 years ago, the President began his third year in office, working desperately to improve the economy while determined to convince the American people that the best was yet ahead. As a true leader, he met with his Executive team, exactly two years after his inauguration, to introduce two new cabinet members and to rally his executive squad to keep pushing the ball up the hill. His remarks are funny, inspiring, engaging and a perfect start to working with a brilliant team of individuals. We thought you’d like a taste of our 40th president’s leadership style in this new year: his vision, communication and optimism. You’ll hear him announce that Elizabeth Dole would replace Drew Lewis as Secretary of Transportation and Margaret Heckler would replace Richard Schweiker as Secretary of Health and Human services.

In this week’s Reagan Forum Podcast we continue our month long look back to our 2022 Reagan National Defense Forum. Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer facilitated the Reagan National Defense Forum’s closing plenary session featuring a conversation with former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Mark Esper and former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. The discussion focused on how the United States should address the many threats to our national security. From the vantage point of having served in the highest positions of the U.S. government, panelists emphasized the importance of a “peace through strength” approach to American global leadership from the Indo-Pacific to the Middle East to Europe.

President Reagan’s courage as a leader, skill as a diplomat, and his willingness to confront communism around the world played a major role in ending the domination of the Soviet Union. He developed and applied with constant purpose a strategy not simply to contain communism, but to end it, and he achieved this goal across much of the globe. Ronald Reagan entered the White House determined to restore the strength of the U.S. military. He insisted on military might not for its own sake, but to discourage threats to American interests, defend freedom around the world, and bring the Soviet Union to the bargaining table. So in January 1983, 40 years ago this month, he faced the press, holding a news conference to clarify his position on Strategic Arms Reduction. In this podcast, we’ll focus on his resolve to clearly define, in his words, what his intentions were. To provide context, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time was Yuri Andropov…Gorbachev would not enter the scene for over two years. Also, this News Conference preceded his Evil Empire Speech AND his speech on SDI – his Strategic Defense Initiative – by two months.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marking the first major conflict in Europe since World War II, the United States can no longer be assured of a peaceful continent across the Atlantic. During the 2022 Reagan National Defense Forum’s 4th panel of the day, a panel moderated by FOX News Channel’s Jennifer Griffin and comprised of Senator Joni Ernst, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes, Chief of Space Operations General Chance Saltzman, and Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth looked at how an engaged United States and a reinvigorated NATO represent the best path for peace and stability in Europe.

Today, we’re being instructed to call them undocumented but most of us still refer to those in this country illegally as…illegals. In the heated debate over immigration reform — despite the politicians and our current president choose to ignore the serious problems, the question that might be asked is “What would Ronald Reagan do?”

In last month’s December 15th podcast, we shared our 2022 Reagan National Defense Forum’s Keynote Address. In January’s podcasts we will share four additional panels with you. As previously shared, the Reagan National Defense Forum has quickly become one of our nation’s premier gatherings for defense and national security experts. The Defense Forum brings together leaders from across the political spectrum and key stakeholders in the defense community, including Members of Congress, current and former Administrations officials, senior military leadership, industry executives, technology innovators, and thought leaders. Their mission is to review and assess policies that strengthen America’s national defense in the context of the global threat environment. In this year’s fireside chat, United States Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines joined Andrea Mitchell of NBC News for a moderated discussion about the pressing security issues facing the United States. Director Haines provided her unique perspective on a multitude of national security matters, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, the protests in Iran and China, and North Korean nuclear tests. She highlighted the role the intelligence community plays in keeping America safe.

In November 2022, State Department officials went to great lengths to prevent a meeting at the G20 summit between Biden and Putin. They knew that at some point, the two leaders would cross paths, but US officials ruled out a formal meeting and took steps to ensure that the American president does not encounter his Russian counterpart in a hallway or even in a group photo. Why?

Well, the answer is that President Biden thinks Putin is a killer, a war criminal and, you don’t usually meet with killers and war criminals. Both of Biden’s immediate predecessors — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — crafted foreign policies that involved direct engagement with traditionally adversarial leaders; Obama as a matter of bridging difficult diplomatic divides, Trump as part creating personal and political alliances. Biden has had less engagement abroad. And today, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine is TIME’s man of the year and awarded such an honor for standing up to the Soviet Union. With that in mind…just how did Ronald Reagan handle those pesky Russians?

As we sit between Christmas and New Year’s, we take time to reflect on the year past and the year ahead. From all of us at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, we wish you and your family the happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons. In this week’s A Reagan Forum Podcast, we’re going to go listen to some of our “Best Of Ronald Reagan” podcasts to help keep you in the holiday spirit. We’re going to start with the best of his remarks around holidays.

On January 1, 1985, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev addressed each other’s people in an unprecedented exchange of televised New Year’s greetings. Remember that in March 1985, Gorbachev came into office, after the death of former Soviet leader Chernenko and after his very long illness. Knowing the voracity of the Cold War makes this exchange even more meaningful. The four major American networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN carried the leaders five minute speeches at 1pm EST. Even more remarkable, Soviet television agreed to broadcast Reagan’s message to the Soviet people simultaneously, or at 9pm Moscow time: prime time in the Soviet Union.

In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast, we go 1 ½ weeks to December 13, 2022 for our in-person event with Peter Thiel who was a speaker in the Reagan Foundation’s Time for Choosing Speaker Series, a forum for leading voices in the conservative movement. Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He cofounded PayPal, led it as CEO, and took it public; he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director; and he cofounded Palantir Technologies, where he serves as chairman. He is a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies including SpaceX and Airbnb. During his Time for Choosing Speech at the Reagan Library, Peter Thiel addressed additional critical issues facing the future of the Republican Party.

President Reagan, a man of devout faith, loved Christmas deeply. And he chose to share his feelings about the holiday in many different ways over his eight years in office. So today in our podcast, rather than focusing on one single address or message, we’ll take an overview of the President’s eight years in office to look at eight mighty ways to express his joy during the holiday season.

In 2022, we were reminded of the fragility of peace. As we continue to follow the tragic events in Ukraine and keep our eye on a tenuous peace in the Indo-Pacific, Americans must remember the resolve and moral clarity of President Reagan, who explained, “We stand against totalitarianism, particularly imperialistic expansionist totalitarianism. We are for democracy and human rights.” During this year’s Reagan National Defense Forum our panels addressed how to rebuild and maintain the peace, and how we would do well to remember that a strong U.S. military is the best guarantor for that peace—and for freedom. Just like last year, this year’s Defense Forum’s keynote address was delivered by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Lloyd Austin.

In November 1981, President Reagan delivered what he considered to be the most important foreign policy speech of his administration. Before the members of the National Press Club, he called for a number of things: the elimination of all intermediate range nuclear force weapons – known as the zero zero option – and, he called for a meeting with the Soviet Union (then Brezhnev) to negotiate new reductions in their mutual stockpiles of long range strategic nuclear weapons. But just weeks before this speech he had given final approval to blueprints for a multibillion dollar modernization of our strategic forces to build 100 B-1B bombers to replace our deteriorating fleet of B-52 bombers, to deploy new trident nuclear submarines, to develop the stealth bomber, and to build 100 new intercontinental range missiles known as…the MX Peacekeeper.

President Reagan once said, “We of today must choose how we will respond to the Holocaust. Let us tell the world that we will struggle against the darker side of human nature; that with God’s help, goodness will prevail and those who lost their lives will not be forgotten.” Here, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, we’re working to ensure that their lives won’t be forgotten. Just one month ago we held an event to announce our upcoming exhibition, Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. During this program we heard the moving testimony of two Auschwitz survivors, as well as received the first artifact that is a part of this extraordinary exhibition – a German WWII Train Car – the type used during the Holocaust to transport goods – and people – to Auschwitz. This very touching program began with the arrival of that train car – which was led by a procession of combat veterans on motorcycles.

Every December, Americans celebrate their memorable cultural icons when the Kennedy Center bestows its annual honors to those in the performing arts for their lifetime contributions. Since 1978, the Honors have been presented annually each December to five honorees followed by a gala celebration. The original strategy was that these unique individuals were people who have contributed to society, not someone who happens to have a pop record hit at the moment. The intention was not to do just another award show. Do you recall the first host? It was Leonard Bernstein in 1978. And the White House got involved by inviting the Honorees first to the White House for an initial presentation by the President. For 2022, who are the Honorees? Well, George Clooney, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, Tania Leon and U2. In this podcast, we’ll focus on two ceremonies held at the White House. The first, 40 years ago in 1982 honored George Abbott, Eugene Ormandy, Lillian Gish, Benny Goodman, and Gene Kelly. Then, in the second half of the podcast, the President honored in 1984, Lena Horne, Arthur Miller, Gian Carlo Menotti, Isaac Stern and Danny Kaye. And in the second half of the podcast, I’ll share a bit about those who were offered the honor but declined.

In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast we go back one month to November 10, 2022 for our in-person event with former Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland for his new book, The Envoy: Mastering the Art of Diplomacy with Trump and the World. In 2018, Gordon Sondland, the Founder and CEO of Provenance Hotels, was appointed to serve as the 20th U.S. Ambassador to the European Union by President Donald Trump. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in June 2018 and served as Ambassador to the E.U. until February 2020. As Ambassador, Gordon Sondland was one of the highest-ranking U.S. officials in Europe and his portfolio included trade, energy, national security, defense, agriculture and several other files.

In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast we go back just one week to our in-person event on November 17th with former Vice President Mike Pence for a program on his newest book, So Help Me God, an inside story of the Trump Administration by its second-highest ranking official and of a profound faith that has guided him throughout his life. Mike Pence served as the 48th Vice President of the United States from 2017 to 2021, as the 50th Governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017, and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. Fun fact: when he was sworn in as our nation’s Vice President, he did so with President Reagan’s mother’s bible, which the Reagan Library loaned to him for the occasion.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, a time when we take stock of our many blessings and take an extra moment to let our loved ones know our deepest feelings of appreciation. As you recall, President Reagan was a deeply grateful man, who told the American people in his first Thanksgiving proclamation, that, “America has much for which to be thankful. The unequaled freedom enjoyed by our citizens has provided a harvest of plenty to this Nation throughout its history. In keeping with America’s heritage, one day each year is set aside for giving thanks to God for all of His blessings.” Another example of his commitment to gratitude occurred when the hostages held in Iran for 444 days were freed in January 1981, President Reagan created a special national day of Thanksgiving to honor their sacrifice and safe return.

Last week was Veterans Day – a day to honor our nation’s military veterans. Commemorating this day on November 11th each year not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but also helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. In this week’s Reagan Forum Podcast we go back on week to the Reagan Library’s Veterans Day Program, which included an honor guard, live music, and keynote remarks by US Army Veteran Brad Taylor. Brad Taylor served for 21 years, retiring as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel, with his final assignment as the Assistant Professor of Military Science at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He is now the New York Times bestselling author of his Pike Logan series; with more than 15 installments and more than 3 million copies sold.

On November 10, 1982 – 40 years ago – the leader of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, died. Immediately after his passing, Yuri Andropov succeeded him as General Secretary. But our subject today is Brezhnev and the hauntingly similar ways both Brezhnev and Putin have ruled.